Ecological Revolutions: Nature, Gender, and Science in New England / Edition 2

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With the arrival of European explorers and settlers during the seventeenth century, Native American ways of life and the environment itself underwent radical alterations as human relationships to the land and ways of thinking about nature all changed. This colonial ecological revolution held sway until the nineteenth century, when New England's industrial production brought on a capitalist revolution that again remade the ecology, economy, and conceptions of nature in the region. In Ecological Revolutions, Carolyn Merchant analyzes these two major transformations in the New England environment between 1600 and 1860.

In a preface to the second edition, Merchant introduces new ideas about narrating environmental change based on gender and the dialectics of transformation, while the revised epilogue situates New England in the context of twenty-first-century globalization and climate change. Merchant argues that past ways of relating to the land could become an inspiration for renewing resources and achieving sustainability in the future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Merchant has the gift of being able to make plain dirt interesting.—American Historical Review

Studying ecological transformations, Merchant includes fascinating analyses of the cultures that corresponded to them. . . . [Her] innovative theoretical approach and her political vision make a substantial contribution to the field.—American Quarterly

Merchant's search for a usable past recovers plenty of non-patriarchal, nature venerating, animistic, self-sufficient, communalist alternatives in New England's history. . . . Ecological Revolutions is a firm indication of the increasing scope and ambition of environmental history as a second generation of practitioners emerges.—Journal of American Studies

[This book's] scholarship, style and quality of argument should give it a place on the shelves of any investigator of the environment.—International Journal of Environmental Studies

A distinctive, important addition to the theory and practice of environmental history.—Pacific Historical Review

A fresh approach to American environmental history. . . . Merchant's work makes a significant contribution not only in enriching the field but also in stimulating further work.—The Journal of American History

A meticulous analysis. . . . Merchant presents a fine synthesis of early source materials and recent historical scholarship in a closely argued interpretive framework.—Gender and History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807871805
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2010
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Merchant is professor of environmental history, philosophy, and ethics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is author of The Death of Nature, Reinventing Eden, and several other books on environmental history. She is a past president of the American Society for Environmental History and a recipient of the society's distinguished scholar award.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition xiii

Preface xxiii

1 Ecology and History 1

Part 1 The Colonial Ecological Revolution

2 Animals into Resources 29

3 From Cora Mothers to Puritan Fathers 69

4 The Animate Cosmos of the Colonial Farmer 112

Part 2 The Capitalist Ecological Revolution

5 Farm Ecology: Subsistence versus Market 149

6 The Mechanization of Nature: Managing Farms and Forests 198

7 Nature, Mother, and Industry 232

8 Epilogue: The Global Ecological Revolution 261


Appendix A Foods of Southeastern New England Indians, 1600-1675 281

Appendix B Pelts Exported by John Pynchon, 1652-1665 285

Appendix C Profile of Fifteen Inland Massachusetts Towns 285

Appendix D Land Use in Concord, Massachusetts 292

Appendix E Products of the New England Forest, 1840 296

Notes 297

Bibliography 337

Index 377

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